A strong sense of automotive identity has always been reserved for vehicles with years of history, those with traits and styling that have been passed from generation to generation. Like the Hyundai i30 N Line.
Let us explain. Sure, the Porsche 911 has eons of racing pedigree, and Toyota’s LandCruiser is famed for its off road capability, but the Korean car maker’s stalwart hatch has plenty of runs on the board too. It’s been around since 2007 after all.
In the last four years it’s gone from being the dependable hatch we’d come to know and love, to offering an expanded range that includes a compact fire breathing monster in the form of the i30 N hatch and Fastback N, with an N sedan on its way.
Bridging the gap between the standard range of hatches and the N Performance offering is an enhanced sporty model known as the N Line. It’s what you might described as a warmed up variant, with some exclusive N bits.
Those bits include some monikered sports seats, in leather, 18-inch alloy wheels and a 1.6-litre turbo power plant, paired to either a DCT automatic transmission or a full manual gearbox. What’s missing is the high performance 2.0-litre motor and some other stuff.
It’s a more styled up package than the raw racer version, with red accents and red stitching throughout the predominantly black cabin giving a real European hot hatch feel. Even the seatbelts were dyed red to suit.
The seats are comfortable but sporty, if not a little harsh and there’s plenty of road noise coming into the cabin, particularly in the back seats (enough for our passengers to complain). External aerodynamics have got rid of any wind noise though.
A panoramic sunroof also invites the sun in, and on a beautiful day you have the option of sliding back the hood lining to let the light in, or opening up the glass roof to get the wind in your hair.
A 10.5-inch infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, albeit not cable free. You will find a wireless charging station in the centre console though.
Given the i30 N Line bears the now famous N logo, it would be remiss of us to not find some winding, twisting roads and long straights to test it out. So we did, and the results are best described as interesting.
The 7-speed DCT is a bit of a slug off the line, but once it’s into the higher rev range, all of its 150kW of power seems to come on tap, making for an effortless driving experience that’s on-song, even when using the paddle shifters to play like a manual.
During our spirited road test though, we uncovered a hiccup, finding ourselves with an engine light on, and a car in limp mode. A quick trip to the mechanic solved it, with the turbo over-boost function having a moment.
But it’s in the handling, chassis and suspension package that the i30 N Line shows its real strength. Braking late and throwing it into corners is second nature for this vehicle, having no problem filling up the mirrors of a high-powered motorbike on a twisty road.
Keeping the revs up with the paddle shift DCT will help shotgun out of the apex of corners too. The Michelin Pilot Sport tyres don’t hurt either. It’s a great daily driver, with a performance bent, is probably the best way to sum it up.
Our test vehicle came in Fiery Red, but you can also have Amazon Grey, Polar White, Lava Orange, Intense Blue, Phantom Black and Fluid Metal. A sedan version is also available, but it misses out on the Amazon Grey paint option.
Priced at $36,220 (plus on-roads), the 2021 Hyundai i30 N Line Premium is designed for someone who is looking for a more luxurious hatch that comes with sporting prowess. It’s for the person who doesn’t need a track monster but wants performance.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Hyundai i30 N Line Premium, contact your local Hyundai dealer.